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2021 NFL Free Agency: Houston Texans Sign Christian Kirksey To One-Year Deal

The veteran linebacker heads to Houston for the 2021 season.

NFL: NFC Divisional Round-Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans are staying busy in free agency, bringing in another veteran on a one-year, presumably incentive-laden deal. Yesterday, it was Mark Ingram. Today, it’s Christian Kirksey.

The numbers indicate Kirksey is no longer playing at the level he did with the Browns for several years, but he can still contribute to a defense. As our friends at APC noted after the Packers released Kirksey last month, Kirksey was more of a cap casualty than cut for a lack of performance.

Kirksey started 11 games for the Packers last season, playing 548 snaps on defense. His 77 tackles ranked third on the team and he added two sacks, two interceptions, and four passes defensed.

Injuries, however, were again a concern for Kirksey. He played just nine games in the two seasons prior to joining the Packers and battled a variety of issues throughout the 2020 season. He became expendable with the season-long emergence of Krys Barnes as a viable (if limited) starter, and Kamal Martin’s long-term potential probably hastened his exit.

More importantly for the Texans, Kirksey’s signing continues a nascent (and I think shrewd) pattern from Nick Caserio of adding veterans on short-term deals that won’t affect Houston’s compensatory pick formula in 2022.

Whether Deshaun Watson is the Texans’ QB in 2021 or not, all signs point to Houston being a bad team for the immediate future. Refusing to commit big dollars for the privilege of watching someone contribute to a two, three, or four win campaign while doing everything possible to accumulate draft assets is smart. Limit the long-term contracts on the books while bad deals and underachieving players from the previous regime are ferreted out with an eye toward having money to spend in 2022, 2023, and 2024. I applaud the vision even if it’s going to result in watching football that’ll make our eyes bleed for a season or two.

What’s your reaction to the Kirksey signing and/or Caserio’s apparent strategy?